Down 47,900 this week

Dead Men Tell (1941)

 -  Comedy | Crime | Mystery  -  28 March 1941 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 690 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 5 critic

A treasure map in four pieces, the ghost of a hanged pirate, a talking parrot, and a ship full of red herrings complicate Charlie's search for a murderer on board a docked ship.



(original screenplay), (based on the character created by)
0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 27 titles
created 19 Jun 2011
a list of 22 titles
created 27 Feb 2012
a list of 23 titles
created 15 Jan 2013
list image
a list of 44 titles
created 26 Mar 2013
a list of 48 titles
created 5 months ago

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Dead Men Tell (1941)

Dead Men Tell (1941) on IMDb 7.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Dead Men Tell.

User Polls



Complete credited cast:
Sheila Ryan ...
Kate Ransome
Robert Weldon ...
Steve Daniels
Victor Sen Yung ...
Jimmy Chan (as Sen Yung)
Donald Douglas ...
Jed Thomasson (as Don Douglas)
Kay Aldridge ...
Laura Thursday (as Katharine Aldridge)
Paul McGrath ...
Charles Thursday / Mr. Parks
Bill Lydig
Truman Bradley ...
Capt. Kane of the Suva Star
Miss Patience Nodbury
Lenita Lane ...
Dr. Anne Bonney
Milton Parsons ...
Gene LaFarge
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Fay Helm ...
Undetermined Secondary Role (scenes deleted)


Eccentic, elderly matron Patience Nodbury has a treasure map she's inherited from Black Hook, her pirate ancestor. To foil a mysterious thief who has tried to steal it, she divides it into four pieces, three of which she gives to fellow passengers booked to sail on the Suva Star, an old wooden sailing ship chartered for a treasure hunt on an offshore island. She is convinced that, according to family tradition, Black Hook will visit her before she dies. When the peg-legged "ghost" does just that, and she suffers a fatal heart attack, Charlie and Jimmy are faced with a boatload of red herrings including Bill Lydig, an escaped convict, Gene LaFarge, a certifiable neurotic accompanied by a personal psychiatrist, and the embittered Captain Kane, who was marooned on a deserted island by his ex-partner and vows revenge. Written by (

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Aboard a treasure ship Chan battles his most elusive adversary... the ghost of a pirate 100 years dead!






Release Date:

28 March 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charlie Chan in Dead Men Tell  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The twenty-eighth of forty-seven Charlie Chan movies. See more »


When Jimmy Chan is in a tavern, while he is crouched down against a wall, a dart is thrown at a target near him. When he rises, the guide wire can be seen for the dart against his dark sweater. See more »


Charlie Chan: Trouble like first love - teach many lessons.
See more »


Follows Charlie Chan at the Opera (1936) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 4
4 July 2002 | by (Corrales, NM) – See all my reviews

Patience Nodbury has a treasure map worth $60,000,000 that has been handed down from her pirate ancestor `Black Hook.' Someone has already tried to steal it and she cuts it into four, sending three pieces to other members of the Cocoas Island Treasure Hunt Cruise. As Charlie Chan arrives on the sailing ship Suva Star, Patience meets her long-departed ancestor (complete with peg leg and hook for a hand) and she succumbs from a weak heart. `Trouble like first love, teach many lessons.'

Most of the rest of the film is set aboard the Suva Star (in port) where Charlie and his `favorite son' Jimmy set about to discover who would frighten a little old lady to death. The set is well constructed and presents an eerie location. Good camera work with lots of spooky shadows.

A good array of possible suspects includes George Reeves (later Superman on TV) and since the old sailing ship used to be a pirate museum, it provides an interesting array of props. Jimmy Chan provides good comic relief and spends a good deal of the film in the harbor having even walked the plank. When Jimmy offers to help guard and wants Charlie's gun, Pop responds with `Bullet from killer much easier to take than bullet from #2 son.' Milton Parsons skulks around as an interesting character that is trying to over come psychoses. A talking parrot `Gerdy' helps Chan unravel part of the mystery.

There are plenty of clues and they come fast, but this is the first Chan film that I have seen where the detective does not neatly wrap it up at the end and tell you what you should have seen or at least what he knew that you did not know. Unless the version I saw was cut (it might have been), Chan does not reveal how he knew the identity of the killer at the summation. But, there is one good clue and you might catch it. Fair but I liked this one better when I saw it as a kid.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Shipful of ghosts jonfrum2000
Wasn't Jimmy an Olympic Swimmer? ghostofchurch
Dr. Anne Bonney mtevens
Discuss Dead Men Tell (1941) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: